Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Assistant Secretary of State ( Berle )

You are right about the wounded feelings of the Dutch.

I took the position when speaking with Dr. Loudon last week that I am much put-out by the delays of his Government in London.

[Page 67]

After all, this is war and delays in defense may be very costly.

It took three months of perfectly childish negotiations before we got troops to protect the Bauxite Mines in Surinam. They might have been destroyed by a German aircraft carrier in the meantime.

It has taken us well over a month to get troops to Curaçao and Aruba. They are not protected today and their absolutely essential high octane gas refineries might be destroyed by a German submarine tomorrow.

Frankly, I cannot delay the troops and I think you might tell the Venezuelan Ambassador that I am taking sole responsibility for this move, as it is in the interest of Venezuela just as much as it is hi our interest. You might tell him that if the refineries were destroyed the output of Venezuelan oil would automatically nearly stop.

Here is a solution. When we get our troops there, the Commanding Officer can very easily arrange to invite two or three Venezuelans as his personal guests. Venezuela will certainly be kept fully in touch with the entire situation, and this is no time to quibble when a critical phase of the conduct of the war is involved.

F[ranklin] D. R[oosevelt]